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College costs are soaring, and the job market remains tight, creating opportunities for companies that offer low-cost--or free--education and skills training via the Internet. You will face a new wave of start-ups that's a far cry from the diploma mills that have drawn scorn from accreditors; several boast executives from top universities, like Stanford. But it may take time for new startups to prove their worth to employers and students. Also, universities such as Harvard and MIT are developing their own initiatives.

Online schools aim for prestige

Online education companies once made their names on providing a cut-rate alternative to traditional colleges and universities. But the latest crop of education tech startups aims to open up the halls of elite academic institutions to anyone with an Internet connection. One emerging category in the industry is massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which make the course catalogs of universities like Stanford and Duke available to the public--though typically not for credit. Leading the way in this space are Coursera and Udacity.

Other companies are taking alternative approaches to providing elite educational experiences online. 2U, whose founding team includes former executives of Hooked on Phonics and the Princeton Review, partners with select universities to translate their curricula into an online format while preserving their admissions structures. Another entrant, the Minerva Project, is attempting to build an online-centric university that will surpass the likes of Yale and Oxford in quality and prestige, at a fraction of the cost.

There still remains a healthy market, however, for online education companies geared toward practical skills. In recent years, much attention has been focused on software development, with companies such as Codecademy, General Assembly, and Treehouse offering classes in computer programming. Another company, Skillshare, specializes in project-based classes in creative disciplines, such as photography, graphic design, and culinary arts.

The online education market hit $91 billion last year, according to the investment firm IBIS Capital, and is projected to top $256 billion in 2017.

How to stand out

Lately, many online education companies have turned their attention to supplementing traditional, brick-and-mortar classes rather than replacing them. 2U has established a program called Semester Online, which aims to let college students to pursue non-academic projects, such as internships abroad, while maintaining a full course load. New teaching approaches have brought increased demand for educational technology. For instance, the rise of the "flipped classroom," in which students receive lectures at home rather than in class, presents opportunities for companies offering educational video.

One goal that remains elusive in the industry is lowering the cost of instruction, which has risen 84 percent since 2000, according to IBIS Capital. Though the Internet has the potential to reduce long-term operating costs, so far, the sticker prices of online degree programs--including those offered by 2U--remain similar to those of traditional campus programs. The yet-to-be-launched Minerva Project is setting its tuition at $10,000 a year, but there remains ample room for other low-cost competitors.

Skills needed to get ahead

Tech savvy, of course, is a requisite for building online platforms, especially ones that can support the needs of thousands--or potentially millions--of students across age ranges. Though ed-tech startups often explicitly seek to dismantle traditional educational structures, it helps to have industry veterans both to design effective course content and to navigate issues such as licensing content from universities. Both Udacity and Coursera boast academics on their executive teams.

Having a talent for social engagement is also important. In order to gain legitimacy, educational platforms must offer proof of their students' success in applying their newly acquired skills. Skillshare, for instance, regularly contacts former students and posts their success stories on its blog. Additionally, companies whose courses do not allow students to earn formal credits, degrees, or certification must find alternative ways to keep them motivated. Codecademy and Treehouse take a gamification approach: they award virtual badges to students when they learn new skills.

Funding is plentiful

Interest in online education among investors has spiked in recent years. The past year has seen mammoth investments for new startups such as Coursera, which raised about $65 million in its first year of existence, as well as longtime players such as the educational video site Lynda.com, which raised a first-time round of $103 million. According to the venture capital database CB Insights, the educational tech industry attracted $1.1 billion in investment last year.

Online education companies benefit from having a diverse pool of funding sources available to them, including grants. The education field at large has drawn capital from several entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Traditional schools represent another growing source of funding. The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, recently partnered with a group of companies to launch an incubator and $2.1 million seed fund for educational technology startups.

Challenges

Today's online education startups have escaped the negative reputation of for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, but they are still waging other battles for legitimacy. MOOCs face a particularly difficult challenge: very few of their courses yield official credits, which limits their value. And recent attempts at offering course credit have produced less-than-stellar results. Udacity opted to put its program with San Jose State University on hiatus after more than half of participating students failed the program's initial courses.

Another challenge may come from existing colleges and universities, more and more of which are beginning to develop their own online programs. For instance, a consortium of universities, including Harvard, Caltech, and the University of Texas system, has developed edX, a non-profit MOOC. Other universities, such as Carnegie Mellon and Yale, make videos and instructional materials for many of their courses available through their own branded portals.

So far, online education companies have found most success in emphasizing skills-based learning. Udacity, for instance, has worked with companies such as Google and AT&T to train current employees and identify potential job candidates.

The Quick and Dirty on Online Education

It's about content

The content segment of online education could hit $72.9 billion in 2017, according to researcher MarketsandMarkets.

You won't be first

Watch out for for-profit big boys Kaplan and Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, as well as educational heavy-hitters such as Harvard and MIT, which are developing their own online courses. Newer entrants include 2U, Coursera, and the Minerva Project, among many others.

VCs are intrigued

Venture capital shops New Enterprise Associates and Accel have made recent investments. So has Apollo Group.

Best prior job

Experience in a tech start-up as well as in a classroom.

Industry buzzword

MOOC (massive open online course): online class open to all

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featured company
Skillshare offers hands-on courses for $20.
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[end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '69278' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => [time_updated] => [id] => 69278 [sortorder] => [tbl] => article [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [rubric] => [sort] => 0 [largeformat] => FALSE [baseurl] => http://www.inc.com/ [timestamp] => 8:35AM ET [homepage_headline] => What Your Reading Habits Say About You [homepage_headline2] => What Your Reading Habits Say About You [homepage_deck] => [lightfeatureimage] => FALSE [imagelist_primary] => Array ( [49127] => Image Object ( [img_foreignkey] => [img_reference_name] => woman on smartphone [img_caption] => [img_alt_text] => woman on smartphone [img_custom_credit] => [img_custom_meta_data] => [img_phoid] => 872 [img_ityid] => 1 [img_bucketref] => [img_bucket_dimx] => [img_bucket_dimy] => [img_f1imageref] => [img_panoramicref] => woman-on-smartphone.jpg [img_pan_dimx] => 970 [img_pan_dimy] => 450 [img_light_imageflag] => FALSE [img_tile_override_imageref] => woman-on-smartphone-300.jpg [img_skyscraperref] => [img_sky_dimx] => [img_sky_dimy] => [img_super_panoramicref] => [img_gallery_imageref] => [img_full_screen_ref] => [img_custom_cropref] => [img_full_text] => [img_tags] => woman on smartphone [img_notes] => 504387543 [img_gettyflag] => TRUE [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '69278' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => 2015-01-29 12:54:15 [time_updated] => 2015-01-29 12:54:53 [id] => 49127 [sortorder] => [tbl] => image [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [error] => Array ( [0] => Problem initializing. A method for "incid" does not exist. [1] => Problem initializing. A method for "imgid" does not exist. ) [sort] => ) ) ) Article Object ( [inc_foreignid] => [inc_title] => Turning the 'Bulletproof' Coffee Craze Into a Big Brand [inc_headline_prefix] => [inc_headline] => Turning the 'Bulletproof' Coffee Craze Into a Big Brand [inc_homepage_headline] => 'Bulletproof' Coffee Creator Sets His Sights on the Mainstream [inc_homepage_headline_ab_test] => [inc_lander_headline] => [inc_sharing_headline] => [inc_twitter_headline] => [inc_column_name_override] => [inc_reference_name] => [inc_custom_byline] => [inc_typid] => 1 [inc_autid] => [inc_deck] => [inc_homepage_deck] => [inc_lander_deck] => [inc_sharing_deck] => [inc_image_caption_override] => [inc_show_feature_imageflag] => [inc_pubdate] => 2015-01-29 06:00:00 [inc_promo_date] => [inc_custom_pubdate] => [inc_meta_keywords] => [inc_custom_additional_description] => [inc_filelocation] => jill-krasny/dave-asprey-bulletproof-coffee-cafe.html [inc_override_url] => [inc_custom_header] => [inc_custom_css] => [inc_custom_javascript] => [inc_display_videos_as_playlistflag] => [inc_autoplay_videoflag] => [inc_display_video_at_bottomflag] => [inc_hide_video_prerollflag] => [inc_clean_text] => [inc_code_only_text] => [inc_notepad] => [inc_toolbar_text] => [inc_read_more_override] => [inc_show_read_moreflag] => [inc_custom_sidebar_head] => [inc_sidebar_adcodeflag] => [inc_custom_sidebar] => [inc_custom_footer] => [inc_full_width_footerflag] => [inc_show_pinboardflag] => [inc_staid] => 7 [inc_premiumflag] => [inc_newsworthyflag] => FALSE [inc_standoutflag] => FALSE [inc_evergreen_contentflag] => [inc_homepage_riverflag] => [inc_comment_alert] => [inc_copyeditedflag] => TRUE [inc_activeflag] => TRUE [inc_hide_bucket_imageflag] => [inc_hide_article_sidebarflag] => [inc_hide_commentsflag] => [inc_show_social_linksflag] => [inc_prtid] => [inc_canonical_url] => [inc_serid] => [inc_registration_requiredflag] => [inc_use_narrow_navflag] => [inc_no_cacheflag] => [inc_eopid] => [inc_tracking_pixel_url] => [inc_custom_adzone] => [inc_imu_style_image_overrideref] => [inc_imu_style_image_override_ab_testref] => [inc_tile_tracking_pixel_url] => [inc_alchemyupdatetime] => [owner_admid] => [inc_f1temp] => [inc_alchemyentityxml] => [inc_alchemykeywordxml] => [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '68856' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => [time_updated] => [id] => 68856 [sortorder] => [tbl] => article [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [rubric] => [sort] => 1 [largeformat] => FALSE [baseurl] => http://www.inc.com/ [timestamp] => 6:00AM ET [homepage_headline] => 'Bulletproof' Coffee Creator Sets His Sights on the Mainstream [homepage_headline2] => 'Bulletproof' Coffee Creator Sets His Sights on the Mainstream [homepage_deck] => [lightfeatureimage] => FALSE [imagelist_primary] => Array ( [49038] => Image Object ( [img_foreignkey] => [img_reference_name] => coffee beans [img_caption] => [img_alt_text] => coffee beans [img_custom_credit] => [img_custom_meta_data] => [img_phoid] => 872 [img_ityid] => 1 [img_bucketref] => [img_bucket_dimx] => [img_bucket_dimy] => [img_f1imageref] => [img_panoramicref] => coffee-beans.jpg [img_pan_dimx] => 970 [img_pan_dimy] => 450 [img_light_imageflag] => FALSE [img_tile_override_imageref] => [img_skyscraperref] => [img_sky_dimx] => [img_sky_dimy] => [img_super_panoramicref] => [img_gallery_imageref] => [img_full_screen_ref] => [img_custom_cropref] => [img_full_text] => [img_tags] => coffee beans [img_notes] => amelafjr76971 [img_gettyflag] => TRUE [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '68856' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => 2015-01-28 17:49:05 [time_updated] => 2015-01-28 17:49:46 [id] => 49038 [sortorder] => [tbl] => image [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [error] => Array ( [0] => Problem initializing. A method for "incid" does not exist. [1] => Problem initializing. A method for "imgid" does not exist. ) [sort] => ) ) ) Article Object ( [inc_foreignid] => [inc_title] => 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid in Business Negotiations [inc_headline_prefix] => [inc_headline] => 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid in Business Negotiations [inc_homepage_headline] => [inc_homepage_headline_ab_test] => [inc_lander_headline] => [inc_sharing_headline] => [inc_twitter_headline] => [inc_column_name_override] => [inc_reference_name] => [inc_custom_byline] => [inc_typid] => 1 [inc_autid] => [inc_deck] => [inc_homepage_deck] => [inc_lander_deck] => [inc_sharing_deck] => [inc_image_caption_override] => [inc_show_feature_imageflag] => [inc_pubdate] => 2015-01-28 12:30:00 [inc_promo_date] => [inc_custom_pubdate] => [inc_meta_keywords] => [inc_custom_additional_description] => [inc_filelocation] => jayson-demers/7-critical-mistakes-to-avoid-in-business-negotiations.html [inc_override_url] => [inc_custom_header] => [inc_custom_css] => [inc_custom_javascript] => [inc_display_videos_as_playlistflag] => [inc_autoplay_videoflag] => [inc_display_video_at_bottomflag] => [inc_hide_video_prerollflag] => [inc_clean_text] => [inc_code_only_text] => [inc_notepad] => [inc_toolbar_text] => [inc_read_more_override] => [inc_show_read_moreflag] => [inc_custom_sidebar_head] => [inc_sidebar_adcodeflag] => [inc_custom_sidebar] => [inc_custom_footer] => [inc_full_width_footerflag] => [inc_show_pinboardflag] => [inc_staid] => 7 [inc_premiumflag] => [inc_newsworthyflag] => FALSE [inc_standoutflag] => [inc_evergreen_contentflag] => [inc_homepage_riverflag] => [inc_comment_alert] => [inc_copyeditedflag] => TRUE [inc_activeflag] => TRUE [inc_hide_bucket_imageflag] => [inc_hide_article_sidebarflag] => [inc_hide_commentsflag] => [inc_show_social_linksflag] => [inc_prtid] => [inc_canonical_url] => [inc_serid] => [inc_registration_requiredflag] => [inc_use_narrow_navflag] => [inc_no_cacheflag] => [inc_eopid] => [inc_tracking_pixel_url] => [inc_custom_adzone] => [inc_imu_style_image_overrideref] => [inc_imu_style_image_override_ab_testref] => [inc_tile_tracking_pixel_url] => [inc_alchemyupdatetime] => [owner_admid] => [inc_f1temp] => [inc_alchemyentityxml] => [inc_alchemykeywordxml] => [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '69195' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => [time_updated] => [id] => 69195 [sortorder] => [tbl] => article [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [rubric] => [sort] => 2 [largeformat] => FALSE [baseurl] => http://www.inc.com/ [timestamp] => [homepage_headline] => 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid in Business Negotiations [homepage_headline2] => 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid in Business Negotiations [homepage_deck] => [lightfeatureimage] => FALSE [imagelist_primary] => Array ( [48922] => Image Object ( [img_foreignkey] => 176558909 [img_reference_name] => getty_176558909_97064797045000.jpg [img_caption] => [img_alt_text] => Businesswoman Discussing With Colleague In Office [img_custom_credit] => [img_custom_meta_data] => [img_phoid] => 872 [img_ityid] => 5 [img_bucketref] => [img_bucket_dimx] => [img_bucket_dimy] => [img_f1imageref] => [img_panoramicref] => getty_176558909_97064797045000.jpg [img_pan_dimx] => 970 [img_pan_dimy] => 450 [img_light_imageflag] => TRUE [img_tile_override_imageref] => [img_skyscraperref] => [img_sky_dimx] => [img_sky_dimy] => [img_super_panoramicref] => [img_gallery_imageref] => [img_full_screen_ref] => [img_custom_cropref] => [img_full_text] => [img_tags] => [img_notes] => [img_gettyflag] => TRUE [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '69195' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => 2015-01-28 12:22:45 [time_updated] => 2015-01-28 12:22:45 [id] => 48922 [sortorder] => [tbl] => image [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [error] => Array ( [0] => Problem initializing. A method for "incid" does not exist. [1] => Problem initializing. 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College costs are soaring, and the job market remains tight, creating opportunities for companies that offer low-cost--or free--education and skills training via the Internet. You will face a new wave of start-ups that's a far cry from the diploma mills that have drawn scorn from accreditors; several boast executives from top universities, like Stanford. But it may take time for new startups to prove their worth to employers and students. Also, universities such as Harvard and MIT are developing their own initiatives.

Online schools aim for prestige

Online education companies once made their names on providing a cut-rate alternative to traditional colleges and universities. But the latest crop of education tech startups aims to open up the halls of elite academic institutions to anyone with an Internet connection. One emerging category in the industry is massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which make the course catalogs of universities like Stanford and Duke available to the public--though typically not for credit. Leading the way in this space are Coursera and Udacity.

Other companies are taking alternative approaches to providing elite educational experiences online. 2U, whose founding team includes former executives of Hooked on Phonics and the Princeton Review, partners with select universities to translate their curricula into an online format while preserving their admissions structures. Another entrant, the Minerva Project, is attempting to build an online-centric university that will surpass the likes of Yale and Oxford in quality and prestige, at a fraction of the cost.

There still remains a healthy market, however, for online education companies geared toward practical skills. In recent years, much attention has been focused on software development, with companies such as Codecademy, General Assembly, and Treehouse offering classes in computer programming. Another company, Skillshare, specializes in project-based classes in creative disciplines, such as photography, graphic design, and culinary arts.

The online education market hit $91 billion last year, according to the investment firm IBIS Capital, and is projected to top $256 billion in 2017.

How to stand out

Lately, many online education companies have turned their attention to supplementing traditional, brick-and-mortar classes rather than replacing them. 2U has established a program called Semester Online, which aims to let college students to pursue non-academic projects, such as internships abroad, while maintaining a full course load. New teaching approaches have brought increased demand for educational technology. For instance, the rise of the "flipped classroom," in which students receive lectures at home rather than in class, presents opportunities for companies offering educational video.

One goal that remains elusive in the industry is lowering the cost of instruction, which has risen 84 percent since 2000, according to IBIS Capital. Though the Internet has the potential to reduce long-term operating costs, so far, the sticker prices of online degree programs--including those offered by 2U--remain similar to those of traditional campus programs. The yet-to-be-launched Minerva Project is setting its tuition at $10,000 a year, but there remains ample room for other low-cost competitors.

Skills needed to get ahead

Tech savvy, of course, is a requisite for building online platforms, especially ones that can support the needs of thousands--or potentially millions--of students across age ranges. Though ed-tech startups often explicitly seek to dismantle traditional educational structures, it helps to have industry veterans both to design effective course content and to navigate issues such as licensing content from universities. Both Udacity and Coursera boast academics on their executive teams.

Having a talent for social engagement is also important. In order to gain legitimacy, educational platforms must offer proof of their students' success in applying their newly acquired skills. Skillshare, for instance, regularly contacts former students and posts their success stories on its blog. Additionally, companies whose courses do not allow students to earn formal credits, degrees, or certification must find alternative ways to keep them motivated. Codecademy and Treehouse take a gamification approach: they award virtual badges to students when they learn new skills.

Funding is plentiful

Interest in online education among investors has spiked in recent years. The past year has seen mammoth investments for new startups such as Coursera, which raised about $65 million in its first year of existence, as well as longtime players such as the educational video site Lynda.com, which raised a first-time round of $103 million. According to the venture capital database CB Insights, the educational tech industry attracted $1.1 billion in investment last year.

Online education companies benefit from having a diverse pool of funding sources available to them, including grants. The education field at large has drawn capital from several entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Traditional schools represent another growing source of funding. The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, recently partnered with a group of companies to launch an incubator and $2.1 million seed fund for educational technology startups.

Challenges

Today's online education startups have escaped the negative reputation of for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, but they are still waging other battles for legitimacy. MOOCs face a particularly difficult challenge: very few of their courses yield official credits, which limits their value. And recent attempts at offering course credit have produced less-than-stellar results. Udacity opted to put its program with San Jose State University on hiatus after more than half of participating students failed the program's initial courses.

Another challenge may come from existing colleges and universities, more and more of which are beginning to develop their own online programs. For instance, a consortium of universities, including Harvard, Caltech, and the University of Texas system, has developed edX, a non-profit MOOC. Other universities, such as Carnegie Mellon and Yale, make videos and instructional materials for many of their courses available through their own branded portals.

So far, online education companies have found most success in emphasizing skills-based learning. Udacity, for instance, has worked with companies such as Google and AT&T to train current employees and identify potential job candidates.

The Quick and Dirty on Online Education

It's about content

The content segment of online education could hit $72.9 billion in 2017, according to researcher MarketsandMarkets.

You won't be first

Watch out for for-profit big boys Kaplan and Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, as well as educational heavy-hitters such as Harvard and MIT, which are developing their own online courses. Newer entrants include 2U, Coursera, and the Minerva Project, among many others.

VCs are intrigued

Venture capital shops New Enterprise Associates and Accel have made recent investments. So has Apollo Group.

Best prior job

Experience in a tech start-up as well as in a classroom.

Industry buzzword

MOOC (massive open online course): online class open to all

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featured company
Skillshare offers hands-on courses for $20.
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With the advent of text messages, emails, and other technology-based forms of communication, the way in which we--and our employees--read has more to do with both individual and business success than ever before. Do you read every word and pay close attention to the details and nuances, or do you fly through the information in front of you for the main idea? See what your reading style says about your chances for success.

Speed Reader. You blow through emails and pride yourself on your rapid response time--no one is faster than you. Sure, but have you ever gone back and double-checked to make sure you have not let any of the email's specific points fall through the cracks? Rapid readers may get through information quickly, but they often miss important details in their "read with speed" technique. The real estate agent representing the sellers of a property a friend of mine was buying surely thought she did well by her clients when she drove their property into a bidding war, but her rapid response style of reading cost her clients $25,000 when she did not carefully read the offer contained in my friend's agent's email and transmitted the wrong figure to them.

Skimmer. Your eyes skip a word here and there, so your email exchanges have some back and forth, but you eventually get done what needs doing. Chances are, your contacts and colleagues view you like they would a C student. You frustrate them with your hit or miss attitude, so you are not likely to inspire enough confidence to win a new deal or get a raise or promotion. Contacts will end up bypassing you when possible and relegate you to the pile of last resorts. When I recently reached out to our health insurance broker, she did the opposite of what I asked in my email, and ended up costing herself (and me!) a lot of time and hassle that could have been avoided if she had read my request as it was written in the initial email. In the process, she made sure that when it comes time to renew our policy, I will go directly to the health insurance company itself and cut her out.

Scrutinizer. Read, reflect, respond. You take the time to read an email in its entirety and then send one succinct reply. It takes a bit longer than you would like sometimes, but being thorough minimizes the clutter in your inbox, helps you stay organized, and ultimately shows the person on the other side of the communication that he can trust you with his business. A prospective customer recently sent me a list of questions about our products, and I carefully answered each point with a clear explanation and concise technical information about our products. A week later, the customer placed a large order and told me that he had chosen our company because, unlike our competitors, I was the only person who had addressed every concern he had raised, so he felt comfortable giving us his business.

Don't let your reading strategy sink your chances at success. If you want colleagues, contacts, and customers to feel they are in good hands with you, slow down, stop scanning, and start reading like your life depends on it--because professionally speaking, it does.

 

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In February, Dave Asprey will cut the ribbon on his first-ever Bulletproof café. After nearly five years, it seems like a logical step for a guy whose butter-infused coffee inspired a cult following. Read on for the story of how Asprey went from experimenting with "biohacking" his own body to building a thriving business. (And check out more stories in our Built From Passion series.)

Where the Idea Came From 

At 20, Dave Asprey was depressed, overweight, and eating to cope with his emotions, which veered from clear and decisive to stricken with fear. After buying disability insurance, "because I got to the point where I wouldn't hire myself," he told Inc. last summer, the former project manager and software entrepreneur became obsessed with his health, from the quality and duration of his sleep to the fat content of foods he consumed. 

The more he studied himself, the more he realized he wasn't after a quick pick-me-up but the feeling of being on, all the time. At a friend's suggestion, he began taking so-called smart drugs--a broad term for compounds that heighten cognition--and he says then his hazy world came into focus. After shedding 50 pounds in three months, "I fired my doctor and started taking smart drugs without supervision," he said. He went on to lose 50 more. 

Asprey, who is 41 and lives in the Bay Area, spent 15 years and more than $300,000 to "hack" his biology. He claims he upgraded his brain by more than 20 IQ points and lowered his biological age while learning to sleep more efficiently. He says that learning to do these seemingly impossible things has turned him into a better entrepreneur, husband, and father. This premise became the foundation for Bulletproof Executive, the self-funded performance-coaching company Asprey started in 2010. 

Experimenting with smart drugs eventually led Asprey to toy with that most quotidian of energy boosters--coffee. In 2009, he first posted a recipe for Bulletproof coffee, the coffee and butter beverage that he now says was key to his transformation. By 2012 he began selling Bulletproof-branded low-mold coffee beans online. (Toxins from mold are "performance-robbing," he told the Times.) Soon he added supplements like Brain Octane (his own medium-chain triglyceride oil, an easily digestible fat). Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn't review supplements, Asprey continues to roll out his own; the latest, called Unfair Advantage, is intended to grow mitochondria--i.e., cells in the muscles and brain--in order to slow down the process of aging. 

How the Business Took Off 

As word got around, Bulletproof coffee gained a cult following. It became popular among tech types in Silicon Valley, New York City, and Seattle, and won over celebrities such as music producer Rick Rubin, who introduced the drink to British singer Ed Sheeran, and Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative doctor who treats Gwyneth Paltrow. The 450-calorie drink is ideal for "mind clarity and a bit of pep," Lipman told the Times.

Making the coffee is simple: You start with some low-mold coffee beans; add at least two tablespoons of unsalted butter (grassfed, which is higher in omega-3s and vitamins); and dump in one to two tablespoons of MCT oil. Put the whole thing in a blender and mix until smooth. Your energy levels will go through the roof, Asprey says, and your hunger will fly out the window. 

Now, nearly five years after its launch, Bulletproof Executive is a 20-person company endorsing the biohacking lifestyle (the company declined to provide revenue numbers). Last year, the website drew some six million unique visitors, and 11 million people have downloaded Asprey's health podcast on iTunes. His book, The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life, was published in January. The Bulletproof shop and cafés are up next. 

After running a "quantitative analysis" to see where Bulletproof coffee was most popular, Asprey settled on Los Angeles for his first standalone café, which he says will be anything but a regular coffee shop. Noting he has "several of the early people from the Starbucks team" on board, the focus will be on getting customers to try the coffee. "The idea is that people still say, 'Butter in coffee?' and there's a disbelief that it can taste as good as it does or make you feel the way it does," he says. Clearly, he wants to convert them. 

"It's an experience; it's more than just coffee," Asprey continues. "We're building the whole store to have the Bulletproof principles in mind as we go through the day." This means lighting that's compatible with circadian rhythms, a Whole Body Vibration platform (like astronauts use to strengthen muscles on missions), and a small seating area where furniture and flooring "connect to the earth."

"It's the indoor equivalent of being outdoors in the park with bare feet," Asprey says proudly. "Studies have shown there are reductions in inflammation and stress when people are able to discharge and walk around." 

The coffee shop is the biggest sign Asprey thinks this is more than a fad. When asked why, he offers this anecdote: "Last night, I did a book signing in New York City, and a guy in the front row said, 'I've been drinking Bulletproof coffee every day for a year and a half. I've lost 50 pounds and started two companies.' Feeling this way isn't a fad," he says bluntly. "Once you do this, it's priceless to have your brain work all day and not have food cravings all day."

But how do you grow a business nontechie types may view skeptically? To hear Asprey tell it, you sell what the coffee does for you instead of the coffee (though that should taste great, too). "I care about the person coming in even more," Asprey says, contrasting his approach to other roasters like Stumptown Coffee, "not the estate or where the beans are grown." 

This year, Asprey plans to open two or three shops, gather data on their performance, and then "go substantially faster after we know what's there." The first store will be funded internally, and over time he'll expand the roast profiles of the coffee, in addition to brewing methods. "We want something that tastes creamy and delicious," he says of the drinks, whose prices will compare to Starbucks'. "We're still working on the menu and testing things." 

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Whether you're negotiating the price of a massive contract, or a salary raise that comes with a new position, negotiating skills are essential in the business world. If you're unable to negotiate fairly, logically, and persuasively, you could jeopardize your career, or at least miss out on significant opportunities as a result.

When trying to argue persuasively, participants sometimes rely on logical fallacies, or illogical arguments that seem rational at first glance, to prove their points. It's critical to avoid the emergence of such fallacies, as they can immediately weaken your argument. Likewise, it's important to observe the other party's arguments carefully, and point out any fallacies that may form the crux of his/her argument.

The key to most successful negotiations is planning, and you can avoid the pitfalls of logical fallacies by brainstorming about what possible fallacies could come up during negotiations. Preparation allows you to chart a course for your position, plan for possible rebuttals, consider possible alternatives and compromises, and determine the consequences of the negotiation's outcome. Seeing ahead this far should give you the opportunity to analyze your own argument for any potential weaknesses, and look for potential weak points in the other party's argumentative course.

As you prepare for the negotiation, keep the following dangerous logical fallacies in the back of your mind.

1. Straw man argument.

A straw man argument is an instance of one party misquoting or deliberately inventing a false version of another party's argument in an effort to make their own argument seem more appealing. For example, let's say your potential client claims that they can't engage in your services because they don't have enough available funds. You distort that argument by saying, "You say you don't think our services are worth the money, but I can prove objectively that we'll increase your ROI."

This is a straw man argument, because the argument you're trying to counter is not the same argument they initially presented. While the two arguments (real and distorted) are somewhat similar, you aren't actually addressing the point at hand. This could weaken your position or make the other party frustrated.

2. Appeal to consequences.

This type of fallacy is usually a sophisticated form of appealing to emotion, but sometimes it just cuts an important argumentative corner. Appealing to consequences is a way of asserting that an idea is true by arguing that the consequences of the idea's not being true are undesirable. A traditional example of this is arguing that free will has to exist because if it didn't life would have no point.

You may find yourself stumbling into this type of logical fallacy in a business negotiation. For example, if you're trying to negotiate an increased rate to your customer, you could say, "We are responsible for keeping your sales up. If we weren't, we wouldn't be in business." You can make the claim that you are responsible for their increased sales, but you need to back that argument up with objective data--not a hypothetical argument of what would happen if you weren't.

3. Ad hominem.

Ad hominem is a type of fallacy that involves attacking another person's character rather than his/her argument. You see this type of fallacy often in the political circuit; rather than diving into the logistics of the issue at hand, one candidate will accuse the other of being a liar.

While you wouldn't dare make such an obvious attack in the business world, this logical fallacy does have a tendency to pop up from time to time during negotiations. Let's say you're a candidate for a promotion, and the opposing candidate has argued that he is better educated than you. It's a logical fallacy if you try and refute this argument by saying something like "he probably didn't study as hard as I did." Instead, opt to argue that your experience means more than education, or find some other way to overcome the argument without undercutting the opposing party's character.

4. Slippery slope.

You see the slippery slope fallacy all the time during political debates. One person argues against the proposition of a new law or regulation simply because there's a chance that it could lead to more significant laws or regulations in the future.

Put this into a business perspective. Let's say you want your employee to take on a new responsibility, and he/she is resistant. It's a logical fallacy if he/she resists because he/she is afraid that by saying yes to this new responsibility, it will open the door to many new unwanted responsibilities. It's not logical because the argument is for only one additional responsibility, and the future is entirely hypothetical.

5. Correlation equals causation.

This argument is an especially tempting trap to fall into. Correlation is an observation that one action was taken and one result was obtained. It doesn't necessarily prove that the action was what caused the result; arguing that it did is a logical fallacy.

For example, if you're negotiating for a pay raise, it's illogical to argue that an increase in productivity was due solely to your own efforts. Let's say you're in marketing and your company's social media following increased since the time of your last evaluation. You can't tie your performance to those increased metrics unless you have a causal link. Otherwise, they could easily be attributed to a new company announcement, or an outlier in your data.

6. False dilemma.

The false dilemma fallacy starts with an assumption that there are only two possible answers to a solution, and those possibilities are at extreme ends of the spectrum. For example, if a co-worker is arguing against one of your plans for a given project and you argue, "You're either on board with this, or you're trying to sabotage the project," you've immediately created a false dilemma. The world is seldom black and white, and in this particular example, it's entirely possible that the co-worker is interested in the idea but is only trying to raise some possible concerns. Don't assume there are only two options for any scenario.

7. Red herring.

In detective stories, a red herring is a clue intended to lead the audience to one conclusion while the correct conclusion is different. In the context of negotiation, a red herring is a way of manipulating an argument instead of trying to address it. For example, if you and your boss are negotiating a pay raise and the subject of company budget comes up, it's a red herring if you keep changing the argument to the strength of your performance. You may have more leverage with performance than with budgetary concerns, but if you aren't addressing the budgetary argument, you're approaching the argument illogically.

Logical fallacies are a kind of poison that can infect an otherwise valid, valuable argument and render it completely useless. If you can spot and identify any in the other party's persuasive argument, you'll have the upper hand in crushing their argument totally. Likewise, you'll have to pay attention and keep them from encroaching on your own persuasive words. Doing so will put you in a better position, and strengthen your arguments.

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For as long as I can remember, the saying, "you just got lucky" or "that person is so lucky" has always made me cringe. I've never believed in luck--let me explain why.

Everything that happens in life can be traced back to some amount of effort. Or, in many cases, it's a boatload of effort.

When someone hits the game-winning 3-pointer in basketball, it's not luck that makes the shot go in. It's the 500 3-pointers that athlete has shot every day for months or years. It's the muscle memory that athlete has developed over thousands of painstaking hours. There's not some miracle wisp of wind (luck) that floats the ball into the hoop.

When someone's business starts to take off, people immediately jump on the luck bandwagon. (In this scenario, luck is the exact same thing as overnight success.) Even if a company goes viral at launch, there's still an immense amount of planning, preparation, coordination, and previous successes (and failures) behind the scenes. It's not luck. It's organization and execution.

Look at any best-selling author ever. Not one of them sat down and wrote a book in a week. Got it published the next week. And then sat back and watched as it became a New York Times bestseller. Yet people call authors like Seth Godin, J.K. Rowling, and many others "lucky." Seth and J.K. (we're on a first-name basis because we're author buddies) both got rejected by publishers countless times. Heck, Seth Godin got rejected a staggering 900 times by publishers. 900! And he's lucky? Hell no, he's not. He's a hard-working author who got what he earned from persistence and effort.

I could go on and on and on with examples. Maybe the only people who truly could be deemed lucky are lottery winners. However, the majority of lottery winners (a high majority) have played for years and invested thousands of dollars to win. Many lottery winners have strategies, systems, and complex buying patterns. Sure, there are a few people who've bought a single ticket and won the lottery, but that's unbelievably rare.

Luck has this amazing ability to show up after all the hard work has been put in, and oftentimes, after someone has lost hope that their effort will pay off. I believe that the only time so-called luck shows up is after you've gone far enough in whatever you're working on that you deserve recognition on some level.

That's exactly what luck is to me: recognition of hard work.

For me, this came on November 3, 2012, when I launched BuyMyLastName and asked the world to bid on my last name. In the first 24 hours the bidding hit more than $30,000. A lot of people called that luck. LUCK? I'd been working 14-16 hours every day for the previous four years with IWearYourShirt to build a following and a community that gained attention in the media. Luck didn't have anything to do with it. About 5,000 hours of effort and the balls to put a crazy idea out into the world--that's what made the difference.

The illusion of luck can consume you if you're not careful. If you buy into it, you'll end up sitting idly on the sidelines, while the dedicated, hustling, hard-working people pass you by on their road to success. It's like Coleman Cox said in 1922:

"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have."

Don't sit around waiting for the luck train to show up. Luck is for leprechauns and cereals with marshmallows in them. For the rest of us, it's just hard work, patience, and persistence that will get us to our dreams.

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We're not big on setting resolutions only in January at Pluralsight. We believe it's important to strive for excellence year-round, rather than just once a year. That said, there's value in using the year's starter months to reassess your current skill sets and identify areas for improvement, growth, and learning.

Technology is one area that no one in any industry can afford to grow complacent about--tech is changing so quickly that skills you mastered last year may already be outdated. In such a quickly evolving industry, information decays at a rate of 30 percent a year, according to Research in Labor Economics, rendering nearly a third of last year's tech-related knowledge irrelevant.

But don't panic--there's a solution. Staying up-to-date with emergent technologies and trends--as well as the skills needed to master them--will help you offset the lightning-fast pace of skills disruption and keep you ahead of the curve. Continuous learning is the key to maintaining an ongoing competitive advantage, both for individuals and organizations.

On that note, here are the top six tech skills that Pluralsight has identified as not just "nice-to-know," but "need to know," in 2015:

1. Coding.

As I've written recently, coding is the number-one skill in demand today worldwide. Although coding and computer science are still marginalized in the K-12 education system, it's clear that the ability to code has become as important as other basic forms of literacy like reading and math. Fortunately, no matter what your age or current comfort level with technology, there are ways to pick up intro coding skills--and many of them are free. Start with Code School, which provides interactive learn-to-code challenges along with entertaining video instruction, or Hour of Code, which offers a free one-hour coding tutorial that's available in over 30 languages.

2. Big data.

According to Forbes, big data will continue to grow in 2015, due in part to the rise of the Internet of Things, which has the power to embed technology in practically anything. As ever-larger volumes of data are created, it's vital to know how to collect and analyze that data--particularly when it's related to customer preferences and business processes. No matter what industry you're in, you'll miss out on key marketing and decision-making opportunities by ignoring big data. You can brush up on big data concepts, technologies, and vendors with these courses.

3. Cloud computing.

TechRadar reported this month that 2015 will be the year that the cloud becomes the "new normal." The reason, writes Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText, is that costs can be slashed as much as 90 percent through digitization of information-intensive processes. Barrenechea predicts that by year-end, we'll see "a world of hybrid deployments in which some information and applications reside in the cloud and the remainder resides on-premise." Learning to utilize the cloud's flexible power can improve everything from your data security to your collaboration ability. Learn cloud-computing basics with this hour-long online course, which you can view in full with a free trial from Pluralsight, or try this free intro course on the topic from ALISON.

4. Mobile.

As Six Dimensions states, "If you don't have a mobile strategy, you don't have a future strategy." This has never been truer than in 2015, the year in which The Guardian predicts an increasing number of companies will learn how to mobilize their revenue-generating processes, like making purchases and depositing checks. This is also the year that we'll hit critical mass with the fusion of mobile and cloud computing, according to Forbes. That means many more centrally coordinated apps will be usable on multiple devices. Here's a list of beginner-level courses related to mobile technology from Pluralsight, as well as options for mobile apps courses from Lynda.com.

5. Data visualization.

Data keeps multiplying, which means whatever message you hope to communicate online must find increasingly creative ways to break through the noise. That's where data visualization comes in, which involves using a visual representation of the data to discover new information and breakthroughs. Creative Bloq notes that this technique can reveal details that poring through dry data can't. Fortunately, you don't have to be a web designer or developer to create compelling infographics. Here's a list of 10 free tools you can use to visually enhance your data.

6. UX design skills.

User experience (UX) designers consider the end user's ease of use, efficiency, and general experience of interfacing with a system (such as a website or application). Smashing Magazine notes that while user experience has long been important, it has become more so recently in relation to the diverse ways that users can now access websites, including mobile and apps. "The more complex the system, the more involved will the planning and architecture have to be for it," writes Jacob Gube. But it's not just professional designers who can benefit from understanding UX design--anyone can. Check out this animated video from UXmastery on "How to Get Started in UX Design."

These six tech trends are reshaping the way businesses in every industry function internally and connect with their customers. Get smart in these areas, and you won't have to worry about being left behind--at least not this year.

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College costs are soaring, and the job market remains tight, creating opportunities for companies that offer low-cost--or free--education and skills training via the Internet. You will face a new wave of start-ups that's a far cry from the diploma mills that have drawn scorn from accreditors; several boast executives from top universities, like Stanford. But it may take time for new startups to prove their worth to employers and students. Also, universities such as Harvard and MIT are developing their own initiatives.

Online schools aim for prestige

Online education companies once made their names on providing a cut-rate alternative to traditional colleges and universities. But the latest crop of education tech startups aims to open up the halls of elite academic institutions to anyone with an Internet connection. One emerging category in the industry is massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which make the course catalogs of universities like Stanford and Duke available to the public--though typically not for credit. Leading the way in this space are Coursera and Udacity.

Other companies are taking alternative approaches to providing elite educational experiences online. 2U, whose founding team includes former executives of Hooked on Phonics and the Princeton Review, partners with select universities to translate their curricula into an online format while preserving their admissions structures. Another entrant, the Minerva Project, is attempting to build an online-centric university that will surpass the likes of Yale and Oxford in quality and prestige, at a fraction of the cost.

There still remains a healthy market, however, for online education companies geared toward practical skills. In recent years, much attention has been focused on software development, with companies such as Codecademy, General Assembly, and Treehouse offering classes in computer programming. Another company, Skillshare, specializes in project-based classes in creative disciplines, such as photography, graphic design, and culinary arts.

The online education market hit $91 billion last year, according to the investment firm IBIS Capital, and is projected to top $256 billion in 2017.

How to stand out

Lately, many online education companies have turned their attention to supplementing traditional, brick-and-mortar classes rather than replacing them. 2U has established a program called Semester Online, which aims to let college students to pursue non-academic projects, such as internships abroad, while maintaining a full course load. New teaching approaches have brought increased demand for educational technology. For instance, the rise of the "flipped classroom," in which students receive lectures at home rather than in class, presents opportunities for companies offering educational video.

One goal that remains elusive in the industry is lowering the cost of instruction, which has risen 84 percent since 2000, according to IBIS Capital. Though the Internet has the potential to reduce long-term operating costs, so far, the sticker prices of online degree programs--including those offered by 2U--remain similar to those of traditional campus programs. The yet-to-be-launched Minerva Project is setting its tuition at $10,000 a year, but there remains ample room for other low-cost competitors.

Skills needed to get ahead

Tech savvy, of course, is a requisite for building online platforms, especially ones that can support the needs of thousands--or potentially millions--of students across age ranges. Though ed-tech startups often explicitly seek to dismantle traditional educational structures, it helps to have industry veterans both to design effective course content and to navigate issues such as licensing content from universities. Both Udacity and Coursera boast academics on their executive teams.

Having a talent for social engagement is also important. In order to gain legitimacy, educational platforms must offer proof of their students' success in applying their newly acquired skills. Skillshare, for instance, regularly contacts former students and posts their success stories on its blog. Additionally, companies whose courses do not allow students to earn formal credits, degrees, or certification must find alternative ways to keep them motivated. Codecademy and Treehouse take a gamification approach: they award virtual badges to students when they learn new skills.

Funding is plentiful

Interest in online education among investors has spiked in recent years. The past year has seen mammoth investments for new startups such as Coursera, which raised about $65 million in its first year of existence, as well as longtime players such as the educational video site Lynda.com, which raised a first-time round of $103 million. According to the venture capital database CB Insights, the educational tech industry attracted $1.1 billion in investment last year.

Online education companies benefit from having a diverse pool of funding sources available to them, including grants. The education field at large has drawn capital from several entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Traditional schools represent another growing source of funding. The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, recently partnered with a group of companies to launch an incubator and $2.1 million seed fund for educational technology startups.

Challenges

Today's online education startups have escaped the negative reputation of for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, but they are still waging other battles for legitimacy. MOOCs face a particularly difficult challenge: very few of their courses yield official credits, which limits their value. And recent attempts at offering course credit have produced less-than-stellar results. Udacity opted to put its program with San Jose State University on hiatus after more than half of participating students failed the program's initial courses.

Another challenge may come from existing colleges and universities, more and more of which are beginning to develop their own online programs. For instance, a consortium of universities, including Harvard, Caltech, and the University of Texas system, has developed edX, a non-profit MOOC. Other universities, such as Carnegie Mellon and Yale, make videos and instructional materials for many of their courses available through their own branded portals.

So far, online education companies have found most success in emphasizing skills-based learning. Udacity, for instance, has worked with companies such as Google and AT&T to train current employees and identify potential job candidates.

The Quick and Dirty on Online Education

It's about content

The content segment of online education could hit $72.9 billion in 2017, according to researcher MarketsandMarkets.

You won't be first

Watch out for for-profit big boys Kaplan and Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, as well as educational heavy-hitters such as Harvard and MIT, which are developing their own online courses. Newer entrants include 2U, Coursera, and the Minerva Project, among many others.

VCs are intrigued

Venture capital shops New Enterprise Associates and Accel have made recent investments. So has Apollo Group.

Best prior job

Experience in a tech start-up as well as in a classroom.

Industry buzzword

MOOC (massive open online course): online class open to all

[inc_code_only_text] => [inc_notepad] => College costs are soaring, and the job market remains tight, creating opportunities for companies that offer low-cost--or free--education and skills training via the Internet. You will face a new wave of start-ups that's a far cry from the diploma mills that have drawn scorn from accreditors; several boast executives from top universities, like Stanford. But it may take time for new startups to prove their worth to employers and students. Also, universities such as Harvard and MIT are developing their own initiatives. It's about content The content segment of online education could hit $72.9 billion in 2017, according to researcher MarketsandMarkets. You won't be first Watch out for for-profit big boys Kaplan and Apollo Group, parent of the University of Phoenix, as well as educational heavy-hitters such as Harvard and MIT, which are developing their own online courses. Newer entrants include 2U, Coursera, and the Minerva Project, among many others. VCs are intrigued Venture capital shops New Enterprise Associates and Accel have made recent investments. So has Apollo Group. Best prior job Experience in a tech startup as well as in a classroom. Industry buzzword MOOC (massive open online course): online class open to all [inc_toolbar_text] =>
featured company
Skillshare offers hands-on courses for $20.
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With the advent of text messages, emails, and other technology-based forms of communication, the way in which we--and our employees--read has more to do with both individual and business success than ever before. Do you read every word and pay close attention to the details and nuances, or do you fly through the information in front of you for the main idea? See what your reading style says about your chances for success.

Speed Reader. You blow through emails and pride yourself on your rapid response time--no one is faster than you. Sure, but have you ever gone back and double-checked to make sure you have not let any of the email's specific points fall through the cracks? Rapid readers may get through information quickly, but they often miss important details in their "read with speed" technique. The real estate agent representing the sellers of a property a friend of mine was buying surely thought she did well by her clients when she drove their property into a bidding war, but her rapid response style of reading cost her clients $25,000 when she did not carefully read the offer contained in my friend's agent's email and transmitted the wrong figure to them.

Skimmer. Your eyes skip a word here and there, so your email exchanges have some back and forth, but you eventually get done what needs doing. Chances are, your contacts and colleagues view you like they would a C student. You frustrate them with your hit or miss attitude, so you are not likely to inspire enough confidence to win a new deal or get a raise or promotion. Contacts will end up bypassing you when possible and relegate you to the pile of last resorts. When I recently reached out to our health insurance broker, she did the opposite of what I asked in my email, and ended up costing herself (and me!) a lot of time and hassle that could have been avoided if she had read my request as it was written in the initial email. In the process, she made sure that when it comes time to renew our policy, I will go directly to the health insurance company itself and cut her out.

Scrutinizer. Read, reflect, respond. You take the time to read an email in its entirety and then send one succinct reply. It takes a bit longer than you would like sometimes, but being thorough minimizes the clutter in your inbox, helps you stay organized, and ultimately shows the person on the other side of the communication that he can trust you with his business. A prospective customer recently sent me a list of questions about our products, and I carefully answered each point with a clear explanation and concise technical information about our products. A week later, the customer placed a large order and told me that he had chosen our company because, unlike our competitors, I was the only person who had addressed every concern he had raised, so he felt comfortable giving us his business.

Don't let your reading strategy sink your chances at success. If you want colleagues, contacts, and customers to feel they are in good hands with you, slow down, stop scanning, and start reading like your life depends on it--because professionally speaking, it does.

 

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In February, Dave Asprey will cut the ribbon on his first-ever Bulletproof café. After nearly five years, it seems like a logical step for a guy whose butter-infused coffee inspired a cult following. Read on for the story of how Asprey went from experimenting with "biohacking" his own body to building a thriving business. (And check out more stories in our Built From Passion series.)

Where the Idea Came From 

At 20, Dave Asprey was depressed, overweight, and eating to cope with his emotions, which veered from clear and decisive to stricken with fear. After buying disability insurance, "because I got to the point where I wouldn't hire myself," he told Inc. last summer, the former project manager and software entrepreneur became obsessed with his health, from the quality and duration of his sleep to the fat content of foods he consumed. 

The more he studied himself, the more he realized he wasn't after a quick pick-me-up but the feeling of being on, all the time. At a friend's suggestion, he began taking so-called smart drugs--a broad term for compounds that heighten cognition--and he says then his hazy world came into focus. After shedding 50 pounds in three months, "I fired my doctor and started taking smart drugs without supervision," he said. He went on to lose 50 more. 

Asprey, who is 41 and lives in the Bay Area, spent 15 years and more than $300,000 to "hack" his biology. He claims he upgraded his brain by more than 20 IQ points and lowered his biological age while learning to sleep more efficiently. He says that learning to do these seemingly impossible things has turned him into a better entrepreneur, husband, and father. This premise became the foundation for Bulletproof Executive, the self-funded performance-coaching company Asprey started in 2010. 

Experimenting with smart drugs eventually led Asprey to toy with that most quotidian of energy boosters--coffee. In 2009, he first posted a recipe for Bulletproof coffee, the coffee and butter beverage that he now says was key to his transformation. By 2012 he began selling Bulletproof-branded low-mold coffee beans online. (Toxins from mold are "performance-robbing," he told the Times.) Soon he added supplements like Brain Octane (his own medium-chain triglyceride oil, an easily digestible fat). Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn't review supplements, Asprey continues to roll out his own; the latest, called Unfair Advantage, is intended to grow mitochondria--i.e., cells in the muscles and brain--in order to slow down the process of aging. 

How the Business Took Off 

As word got around, Bulletproof coffee gained a cult following. It became popular among tech types in Silicon Valley, New York City, and Seattle, and won over celebrities such as music producer Rick Rubin, who introduced the drink to British singer Ed Sheeran, and Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative doctor who treats Gwyneth Paltrow. The 450-calorie drink is ideal for "mind clarity and a bit of pep," Lipman told the Times.

Making the coffee is simple: You start with some low-mold coffee beans; add at least two tablespoons of unsalted butter (grassfed, which is higher in omega-3s and vitamins); and dump in one to two tablespoons of MCT oil. Put the whole thing in a blender and mix until smooth. Your energy levels will go through the roof, Asprey says, and your hunger will fly out the window. 

Now, nearly five years after its launch, Bulletproof Executive is a 20-person company endorsing the biohacking lifestyle (the company declined to provide revenue numbers). Last year, the website drew some six million unique visitors, and 11 million people have downloaded Asprey's health podcast on iTunes. His book, The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life, was published in January. The Bulletproof shop and cafés are up next. 

After running a "quantitative analysis" to see where Bulletproof coffee was most popular, Asprey settled on Los Angeles for his first standalone café, which he says will be anything but a regular coffee shop. Noting he has "several of the early people from the Starbucks team" on board, the focus will be on getting customers to try the coffee. "The idea is that people still say, 'Butter in coffee?' and there's a disbelief that it can taste as good as it does or make you feel the way it does," he says. Clearly, he wants to convert them. 

"It's an experience; it's more than just coffee," Asprey continues. "We're building the whole store to have the Bulletproof principles in mind as we go through the day." This means lighting that's compatible with circadian rhythms, a Whole Body Vibration platform (like astronauts use to strengthen muscles on missions), and a small seating area where furniture and flooring "connect to the earth."

"It's the indoor equivalent of being outdoors in the park with bare feet," Asprey says proudly. "Studies have shown there are reductions in inflammation and stress when people are able to discharge and walk around." 

The coffee shop is the biggest sign Asprey thinks this is more than a fad. When asked why, he offers this anecdote: "Last night, I did a book signing in New York City, and a guy in the front row said, 'I've been drinking Bulletproof coffee every day for a year and a half. I've lost 50 pounds and started two companies.' Feeling this way isn't a fad," he says bluntly. "Once you do this, it's priceless to have your brain work all day and not have food cravings all day."

But how do you grow a business nontechie types may view skeptically? To hear Asprey tell it, you sell what the coffee does for you instead of the coffee (though that should taste great, too). "I care about the person coming in even more," Asprey says, contrasting his approach to other roasters like Stumptown Coffee, "not the estate or where the beans are grown." 

This year, Asprey plans to open two or three shops, gather data on their performance, and then "go substantially faster after we know what's there." The first store will be funded internally, and over time he'll expand the roast profiles of the coffee, in addition to brewing methods. "We want something that tastes creamy and delicious," he says of the drinks, whose prices will compare to Starbucks'. "We're still working on the menu and testing things." 

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Whether you're negotiating the price of a massive contract, or a salary raise that comes with a new position, negotiating skills are essential in the business world. If you're unable to negotiate fairly, logically, and persuasively, you could jeopardize your career, or at least miss out on significant opportunities as a result.

When trying to argue persuasively, participants sometimes rely on logical fallacies, or illogical arguments that seem rational at first glance, to prove their points. It's critical to avoid the emergence of such fallacies, as they can immediately weaken your argument. Likewise, it's important to observe the other party's arguments carefully, and point out any fallacies that may form the crux of his/her argument.

The key to most successful negotiations is planning, and you can avoid the pitfalls of logical fallacies by brainstorming about what possible fallacies could come up during negotiations. Preparation allows you to chart a course for your position, plan for possible rebuttals, consider possible alternatives and compromises, and determine the consequences of the negotiation's outcome. Seeing ahead this far should give you the opportunity to analyze your own argument for any potential weaknesses, and look for potential weak points in the other party's argumentative course.

As you prepare for the negotiation, keep the following dangerous logical fallacies in the back of your mind.

1. Straw man argument.

A straw man argument is an instance of one party misquoting or deliberately inventing a false version of another party's argument in an effort to make their own argument seem more appealing. For example, let's say your potential client claims that they can't engage in your services because they don't have enough available funds. You distort that argument by saying, "You say you don't think our services are worth the money, but I can prove objectively that we'll increase your ROI."

This is a straw man argument, because the argument you're trying to counter is not the same argument they initially presented. While the two arguments (real and distorted) are somewhat similar, you aren't actually addressing the point at hand. This could weaken your position or make the other party frustrated.

2. Appeal to consequences.

This type of fallacy is usually a sophisticated form of appealing to emotion, but sometimes it just cuts an important argumentative corner. Appealing to consequences is a way of asserting that an idea is true by arguing that the consequences of the idea's not being true are undesirable. A traditional example of this is arguing that free will has to exist because if it didn't life would have no point.

You may find yourself stumbling into this type of logical fallacy in a business negotiation. For example, if you're trying to negotiate an increased rate to your customer, you could say, "We are responsible for keeping your sales up. If we weren't, we wouldn't be in business." You can make the claim that you are responsible for their increased sales, but you need to back that argument up with objective data--not a hypothetical argument of what would happen if you weren't.

3. Ad hominem.

Ad hominem is a type of fallacy that involves attacking another person's character rather than his/her argument. You see this type of fallacy often in the political circuit; rather than diving into the logistics of the issue at hand, one candidate will accuse the other of being a liar.

While you wouldn't dare make such an obvious attack in the business world, this logical fallacy does have a tendency to pop up from time to time during negotiations. Let's say you're a candidate for a promotion, and the opposing candidate has argued that he is better educated than you. It's a logical fallacy if you try and refute this argument by saying something like "he probably didn't study as hard as I did." Instead, opt to argue that your experience means more than education, or find some other way to overcome the argument without undercutting the opposing party's character.

4. Slippery slope.

You see the slippery slope fallacy all the time during political debates. One person argues against the proposition of a new law or regulation simply because there's a chance that it could lead to more significant laws or regulations in the future.

Put this into a business perspective. Let's say you want your employee to take on a new responsibility, and he/she is resistant. It's a logical fallacy if he/she resists because he/she is afraid that by saying yes to this new responsibility, it will open the door to many new unwanted responsibilities. It's not logical because the argument is for only one additional responsibility, and the future is entirely hypothetical.

5. Correlation equals causation.

This argument is an especially tempting trap to fall into. Correlation is an observation that one action was taken and one result was obtained. It doesn't necessarily prove that the action was what caused the result; arguing that it did is a logical fallacy.

For example, if you're negotiating for a pay raise, it's illogical to argue that an increase in productivity was due solely to your own efforts. Let's say you're in marketing and your company's social media following increased since the time of your last evaluation. You can't tie your performance to those increased metrics unless you have a causal link. Otherwise, they could easily be attributed to a new company announcement, or an outlier in your data.

6. False dilemma.

The false dilemma fallacy starts with an assumption that there are only two possible answers to a solution, and those possibilities are at extreme ends of the spectrum. For example, if a co-worker is arguing against one of your plans for a given project and you argue, "You're either on board with this, or you're trying to sabotage the project," you've immediately created a false dilemma. The world is seldom black and white, and in this particular example, it's entirely possible that the co-worker is interested in the idea but is only trying to raise some possible concerns. Don't assume there are only two options for any scenario.

7. Red herring.

In detective stories, a red herring is a clue intended to lead the audience to one conclusion while the correct conclusion is different. In the context of negotiation, a red herring is a way of manipulating an argument instead of trying to address it. For example, if you and your boss are negotiating a pay raise and the subject of company budget comes up, it's a red herring if you keep changing the argument to the strength of your performance. You may have more leverage with performance than with budgetary concerns, but if you aren't addressing the budgetary argument, you're approaching the argument illogically.

Logical fallacies are a kind of poison that can infect an otherwise valid, valuable argument and render it completely useless. If you can spot and identify any in the other party's persuasive argument, you'll have the upper hand in crushing their argument totally. Likewise, you'll have to pay attention and keep them from encroaching on your own persuasive words. Doing so will put you in a better position, and strengthen your arguments.

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For as long as I can remember, the saying, "you just got lucky" or "that person is so lucky" has always made me cringe. I've never believed in luck--let me explain why.

Everything that happens in life can be traced back to some amount of effort. Or, in many cases, it's a boatload of effort.

When someone hits the game-winning 3-pointer in basketball, it's not luck that makes the shot go in. It's the 500 3-pointers that athlete has shot every day for months or years. It's the muscle memory that athlete has developed over thousands of painstaking hours. There's not some miracle wisp of wind (luck) that floats the ball into the hoop.

When someone's business starts to take off, people immediately jump on the luck bandwagon. (In this scenario, luck is the exact same thing as overnight success.) Even if a company goes viral at launch, there's still an immense amount of planning, preparation, coordination, and previous successes (and failures) behind the scenes. It's not luck. It's organization and execution.

Look at any best-selling author ever. Not one of them sat down and wrote a book in a week. Got it published the next week. And then sat back and watched as it became a New York Times bestseller. Yet people call authors like Seth Godin, J.K. Rowling, and many others "lucky." Seth and J.K. (we're on a first-name basis because we're author buddies) both got rejected by publishers countless times. Heck, Seth Godin got rejected a staggering 900 times by publishers. 900! And he's lucky? Hell no, he's not. He's a hard-working author who got what he earned from persistence and effort.

I could go on and on and on with examples. Maybe the only people who truly could be deemed lucky are lottery winners. However, the majority of lottery winners (a high majority) have played for years and invested thousands of dollars to win. Many lottery winners have strategies, systems, and complex buying patterns. Sure, there are a few people who've bought a single ticket and won the lottery, but that's unbelievably rare.

Luck has this amazing ability to show up after all the hard work has been put in, and oftentimes, after someone has lost hope that their effort will pay off. I believe that the only time so-called luck shows up is after you've gone far enough in whatever you're working on that you deserve recognition on some level.

That's exactly what luck is to me: recognition of hard work.

For me, this came on November 3, 2012, when I launched BuyMyLastName and asked the world to bid on my last name. In the first 24 hours the bidding hit more than $30,000. A lot of people called that luck. LUCK? I'd been working 14-16 hours every day for the previous four years with IWearYourShirt to build a following and a community that gained attention in the media. Luck didn't have anything to do with it. About 5,000 hours of effort and the balls to put a crazy idea out into the world--that's what made the difference.

The illusion of luck can consume you if you're not careful. If you buy into it, you'll end up sitting idly on the sidelines, while the dedicated, hustling, hard-working people pass you by on their road to success. It's like Coleman Cox said in 1922:

"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have."

Don't sit around waiting for the luck train to show up. Luck is for leprechauns and cereals with marshmallows in them. For the rest of us, it's just hard work, patience, and persistence that will get us to our dreams.

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We're not big on setting resolutions only in January at Pluralsight. We believe it's important to strive for excellence year-round, rather than just once a year. That said, there's value in using the year's starter months to reassess your current skill sets and identify areas for improvement, growth, and learning.

Technology is one area that no one in any industry can afford to grow complacent about--tech is changing so quickly that skills you mastered last year may already be outdated. In such a quickly evolving industry, information decays at a rate of 30 percent a year, according to Research in Labor Economics, rendering nearly a third of last year's tech-related knowledge irrelevant.

But don't panic--there's a solution. Staying up-to-date with emergent technologies and trends--as well as the skills needed to master them--will help you offset the lightning-fast pace of skills disruption and keep you ahead of the curve. Continuous learning is the key to maintaining an ongoing competitive advantage, both for individuals and organizations.

On that note, here are the top six tech skills that Pluralsight has identified as not just "nice-to-know," but "need to know," in 2015:

1. Coding.

As I've written recently, coding is the number-one skill in demand today worldwide. Although coding and computer science are still marginalized in the K-12 education system, it's clear that the ability to code has become as important as other basic forms of literacy like reading and math. Fortunately, no matter what your age or current comfort level with technology, there are ways to pick up intro coding skills--and many of them are free. Start with Code School, which provides interactive learn-to-code challenges along with entertaining video instruction, or Hour of Code, which offers a free one-hour coding tutorial that's available in over 30 languages.

2. Big data.

According to Forbes, big data will continue to grow in 2015, due in part to the rise of the Internet of Things, which has the power to embed technology in practically anything. As ever-larger volumes of data are created, it's vital to know how to collect and analyze that data--particularly when it's related to customer preferences and business processes. No matter what industry you're in, you'll miss out on key marketing and decision-making opportunities by ignoring big data. You can brush up on big data concepts, technologies, and vendors with these courses.

3. Cloud computing.

TechRadar reported this month that 2015 will be the year that the cloud becomes the "new normal." The reason, writes Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText, is that costs can be slashed as much as 90 percent through digitization of information-intensive processes. Barrenechea predicts that by year-end, we'll see "a world of hybrid deployments in which some information and applications reside in the cloud and the remainder resides on-premise." Learning to utilize the cloud's flexible power can improve everything from your data security to your collaboration ability. Learn cloud-computing basics with this hour-long online course, which you can view in full with a free trial from Pluralsight, or try this free intro course on the topic from ALISON.

4. Mobile.

As Six Dimensions states, "If you don't have a mobile strategy, you don't have a future strategy." This has never been truer than in 2015, the year in which The Guardian predicts an increasing number of companies will learn how to mobilize their revenue-generating processes, like making purchases and depositing checks. This is also the year that we'll hit critical mass with the fusion of mobile and cloud computing, according to Forbes. That means many more centrally coordinated apps will be usable on multiple devices. Here's a list of beginner-level courses related to mobile technology from Pluralsight, as well as options for mobile apps courses from Lynda.com.

5. Data visualization.

Data keeps multiplying, which means whatever message you hope to communicate online must find increasingly creative ways to break through the noise. That's where data visualization comes in, which involves using a visual representation of the data to discover new information and breakthroughs. Creative Bloq notes that this technique can reveal details that poring through dry data can't. Fortunately, you don't have to be a web designer or developer to create compelling infographics. Here's a list of 10 free tools you can use to visually enhance your data.

6. UX design skills.

User experience (UX) designers consider the end user's ease of use, efficiency, and general experience of interfacing with a system (such as a website or application). Smashing Magazine notes that while user experience has long been important, it has become more so recently in relation to the diverse ways that users can now access websites, including mobile and apps. "The more complex the system, the more involved will the planning and architecture have to be for it," writes Jacob Gube. But it's not just professional designers who can benefit from understanding UX design--anyone can. Check out this animated video from UXmastery on "How to Get Started in UX Design."

These six tech trends are reshaping the way businesses in every industry function internally and connect with their customers. Get smart in these areas, and you won't have to worry about being left behind--at least not this year.

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Creating a new logo is a risky proposition for any company. Get it wrong (see Tropicana's industrial-strength dumb logo change in 2009 and you can alienate everyone from investors to current and potential customers. But how do you know when it's right? A good logo is one that identifies a product so that it's differentiated from other things that surround it, says design guru Milton Glaser. A superb logo incorporates a design that develops affection toward the product. Did these brands make it from meh to good to maybe even superb? You make the call.

In 2011, Independent Film Channel wanted to put its art-house days behind it, but audiences weren't connecting IFC with comedy series like Portlandia. Homing in on the tag line, "Always On, Slightly Off," the off-balance 2013 logo reflects the old indie spirit but still feels hefty enough to compete with bigger networks'.

In 2010, Conrad Chu drew the original logo for his meal-delivery service, Munchery. The Archer font was popular for its flat, futuristic look. But two years later, the logo looked tired. Enter Kelli Anderson, known for Airbnb's swinging '60s aesthetic, and in-house designer Moises Urrutia. "We wanted to communicate that ordering Munchery means ordering real, handmade food cooked by local chefs in a kitchen," says Anderson.

Brut, a men's grooming brand, needed a face-lift. "The assignment was, 'Sell more Brut,' " says Ryan Lynch of Beardwood & Co., a New York City agency. "We needed to modernize." The green bottle stayed, but the swirly filigree, which baffled shoppers, was out. "What we found was the simplicity of the shield telegraphed protection, masculinity, confidence--everything that this brand needed to deliver," he says.

Designers at Young & Laramore were fans of Upland Brewing in Bloomington, Indiana. But the logo had to go. "We wanted to make a change that reflects our artisanship" while paying homage to the rolling hills of Indiana's Norman and Crawford Uplands, says co-owner Doug Dayhoff. Adds designer Carolyn Hadlock: Dayhoff "loves that handcrafted, illustrative, organic feel" of gig posters.

It was overhaul time for Mack, the 114-year-old truck brand. "Everything just screamed faux--counter to a brand as authentic as Mack," says Stratton Cherouny, the designer and associate partner at VSA Partners. Fully redone and seated atop the bold lettering, "Mack's iconic bulldog leans into the road ahead, ready for what's next."

The crowdfunding site's logo type made "it look like a weaker version of Kickstarter," says Brooklyn Brown, who directed the redesign at PUSH Offices in Venice, California. "Everyone knows" Kickstarter's green logo. "You want to be associated with one color so that it has a stronger brand presence."

Album designer Chris Bilheimer was more accustomed to working with rockers like R.E.M. than fashion designers. But he knew Austin-based HELM Boots deserved a better logo than the "heavy-handed Americana" one they had. "We tried modern takes on the '50s," he says of the logos he drew for pal and founder Joshua Bingaman, "but those just seemed like they were trying too hard and too retro." So they settled on the punk rock-inspired logo with the swooping H. "It has a little bit more life and vitality," says Bingaman. "It feels more contained. The other felt like it wouldn't age with the brand."

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"Being a home-based business owner is not for everybody. Focusing has never really been my problem, but some people physically need to drive away from their house to find structure. The first part of starting a home-based business is recognizing what kind of personality you have. If you need someone else to give you that structure, or if you are a procrastinator, a home office is probably not the best thing for you." --Jim Anderson, LeadDog Consulting

"A home-based business doesn't get started in a day. I was able to set up my website quickly, but I didn't make my first sale until a little more than a month after I launched IWearYourShirt.com. When I first started, I really had no Twitter following, either. But I said to myself that as long as I keep working at this, something will come of it. My persistence paid off because by January, only three months after launch, I had sold out of half my inventory for the year." -- Jason Sadler, IWearYourShirt.com

"When we started Games2U, we put a list together of what we wanted it to be. We knew we didn't ever want to have a retail business -- mobile and home-based was essential to our concept. We wanted a business that needed very little head count, and one that anybody could own and operate on their own, which is what a lot of our franchisees do. They are their own boss and don't even have to have employees." -- David Pikoff, Games2U

"First and foremost, I chose to run my business from home. When I started my Web consultancy, Soapbxx, it became a constant migraine with all the overhead and office space. I've been running Soapbxx from home now for four years. We are brutally honest with our structure and have never lost a client. I find that total honesty about being a home-based business makes everything run better and feel more authentic." -- Amanda Steinberg, Soapbxx and Daily Worth

"Being a stay-at-home dad and a new business owner takes a lot of discipline. I usually get up early around 4 a.m. and try to get as much done in terms of planning and organizing until my wife leaves for work at 7. I work until my daughter wakes up around 11, and then it's her time. I try not to keep her around work too much, so we'll go into the other room and play and I'll go back to work when she's napping or once my wife gets home." -- Chris Jordan, Atlanta Insurance Live

"Each morning, before you begin work, write down the items that you need to accomplish by the end of your day. It helps to rate each item according to priority, from high to low. Even if you don't complete your list, the high priority items will get done first. Remember, you can't blame unfinished work on your co-workers!" -- Franklin Antoian, IBodyFit.com

"One of the downfalls to being a home-based business is that if you wanted to, you could always be working. When I first started Shop Around Tours, it was so important to build the business, so whenever the phone would ring, I would answer, no matter what time of night it was. After answering a call in the middle of the night and one at 6 a.m., I decided I wasn't going to do that anymore and resolved to answer the business phone during business hours. And that means no Sunday nights either!" -- Deborah Mayer, Shop Around Tours

"Being a home-based business is a juggling act, and the key to it is knowing which balls are glass and which are rubber. I go into every day not trying to drop those glass balls, which are my two kids. I don't necessarily think that balance is possible because there is always one element that takes priority in your life and the key to succeeding is knowing what that priority is." -- Michelle Tunno Buelow, Bella Tunno

"There are days where I won't even open my Twitter or Facebook accounts, just so I can tune out and focus on my goals. Just because you are connected all the time doesn't mean you have to be available all the time too. Set up absolute productive time for yourself where you don't go on IM, or you don't respond to e-mails. I also force myself to take at least an hour for lunch every day, otherwise it's very tempting to keep the laptop open while you're eating and not get any separation." -- Michael Sitarzewski, Callisto.fm and HyperSites

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[lightfeatureimage] => FALSE [imagelist_primary] => Array ( [2356] => Image Object ( [img_foreignkey] => [img_reference_name] => __DO NOT USE___bucket.jpg [img_caption] => [img_alt_text] => [img_custom_credit] => [img_custom_meta_data] => [img_phoid] => [img_ityid] => 4 [img_bucketref] => _bucket.jpg [img_bucket_dimx] => 8888 [img_bucket_dimy] => 8888 [img_f1imageref] => [img_panoramicref] => [img_pan_dimx] => [img_pan_dimy] => [img_light_imageflag] => FALSE [img_tile_override_imageref] => [img_skyscraperref] => [img_sky_dimx] => [img_sky_dimy] => [img_super_panoramicref] => [img_gallery_imageref] => [img_full_screen_ref] => .jpg [img_custom_cropref] => [img_full_text] => [img_tags] => [img_notes] => Auto imported 17 May, 2013 [img_gettyflag] => FALSE [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '27621' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => 2010-01-09 20:28:39 [time_updated] => 2013-08-23 16:32:11 [id] => 2356 [sortorder] => [tbl] => image [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [error] => Array ( [0] => Problem initializing. A method for "incid" does not exist. [1] => Problem initializing. A method for "imgid" does not exist. ) [sort] => ) ) ) Article Object ( [inc_foreignid] => [inc_title] => 32 Incredibly Useful Business Gadgets for 2015 [inc_headline_prefix] => [inc_headline] => 32 Incredibly Useful Business Gadgets for 2015 [inc_homepage_headline] => 32 Incredibly Useful Business Gadgets for 2015 [inc_homepage_headline_ab_test] => [inc_lander_headline] => [inc_sharing_headline] => 32 Incredibly Useful Business Gadgets for 2015 [inc_twitter_headline] => Check out 32 new (and incredibly useful) gadgets for business in 2015 @jmbrandonbb [inc_column_name_override] => [inc_reference_name] => [inc_custom_byline] => [inc_typid] => 20 [inc_autid] => 3181 [inc_deck] => What is in store for 2015? Plenty of brilliant business gadgets. [inc_homepage_deck] => What is in store for 2015? Plenty of brilliant business gadgets. [inc_lander_deck] => [inc_sharing_deck] => [inc_image_caption_override] => [inc_show_feature_imageflag] => TRUE [inc_pubdate] => 2015-01-16 07:00:00 [inc_promo_date] => 2015-01-16 07:00:00 [inc_custom_pubdate] => [inc_meta_keywords] => [inc_custom_additional_description] => [inc_filelocation] => ss/john-brandon/32-incredibly-useful-business-gadgets-for-2015.html [inc_override_url] => [inc_custom_header] => [inc_custom_css] => [inc_custom_javascript] => [inc_display_videos_as_playlistflag] => FALSE [inc_autoplay_videoflag] => TRUE [inc_display_video_at_bottomflag] => FALSE [inc_hide_video_prerollflag] => FALSE [inc_clean_text] => [inc_code_only_text] => [inc_notepad] => [inc_toolbar_text] => [inc_read_more_override] => [inc_show_read_moreflag] => TRUE [inc_custom_sidebar_head] => [inc_sidebar_adcodeflag] => FALSE [inc_custom_sidebar] => [inc_custom_footer] => [inc_full_width_footerflag] => FALSE [inc_show_pinboardflag] => TRUE [inc_staid] => 7 [inc_premiumflag] => FALSE [inc_newsworthyflag] => FALSE [inc_standoutflag] => FALSE [inc_evergreen_contentflag] => FALSE [inc_homepage_riverflag] => TRUE [inc_comment_alert] => [inc_copyeditedflag] => TRUE [inc_activeflag] => TRUE [inc_hide_bucket_imageflag] => FALSE [inc_hide_article_sidebarflag] => FALSE [inc_hide_commentsflag] => FALSE [inc_show_social_linksflag] => TRUE [inc_prtid] => [inc_canonical_url] => [inc_serid] => [inc_registration_requiredflag] => FALSE [inc_use_narrow_navflag] => FALSE [inc_no_cacheflag] => FALSE [inc_eopid] => [inc_tracking_pixel_url] => [inc_custom_adzone] => [inc_imu_style_image_overrideref] => [inc_imu_style_image_override_ab_testref] => [inc_tile_tracking_pixel_url] => [inc_alchemyupdatetime] => [owner_admid] => [inc_f1temp] => [inc_alchemyentityxml] => [inc_alchemykeywordxml] => [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '68381' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [time_updated] => 2015-01-16 14:37:52 [id] => 68381 [sortorder] => [tbl] => article [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [error] => Array ( [0] => Problem initializing. A method for "inc_rubric" does not exist. [1] => Problem initializing. A method for "inc_f1_imageref" does not exist. ) [largeformat] => FALSE [baseurl] => http://www.inc.com/ [timestamp] => [homepage_headline] => 32 Incredibly Useful Business Gadgets for 2015 [homepage_headline2] => 32 Incredibly Useful Business Gadgets for 2015 [homepage_deck] => What is in store for 2015? Plenty of brilliant business gadgets. [lightfeatureimage] => FALSE [imagelist_primary] => Array ( [48087] => Image Object ( [img_foreignkey] => [img_reference_name] => lacie rugged raid [img_caption] => [img_alt_text] => [img_custom_credit] => [img_custom_meta_data] => [img_phoid] => [img_ityid] => 1 [img_bucketref] => [img_bucket_dimx] => [img_bucket_dimy] => [img_f1imageref] => [img_panoramicref] => lacie-rugged-970.jpg [img_pan_dimx] => 970 [img_pan_dimy] => 450 [img_light_imageflag] => FALSE [img_tile_override_imageref] => lacie-rugged-300.jpg [img_skyscraperref] => [img_sky_dimx] => [img_sky_dimy] => [img_super_panoramicref] => [img_gallery_imageref] => [img_full_screen_ref] => [img_custom_cropref] => [img_full_text] => [img_tags] => [img_notes] => [img_gettyflag] => FALSE [dbObj] => MDB2_Driver_mysql Object ( [string_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ' [end] => ' [escape] => \ [escape_pattern] => \ ) [identifier_quoting] => Array ( [start] => ` [end] => ` [escape] => ` ) [sql_comments] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [start] => -- [end] => [escape] => ) [1] => Array ( [start] => # [end] => [escape] => ) [2] => Array ( [start] => /* [end] => */ [escape] => ) ) [server_capabilities_checked] => 1 [start_transaction] => 1 [varchar_max_length] => 65532 [db_index] => 1 [dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connected_dsn] => Array ( [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [username] => inccom [password] => b4Fjf2jaFLfc [protocol] => tcp [hostspec] => MYDB [port] => [socket] => [database] => [mode] => ) [connection] => Resource id #7 [opened_persistent] => [database_name] => sitecontent [connected_database_name] => sitecontent [connected_server_info] => 5.5.38-35.2-log [supported] => Array ( [sequences] => emulated [indexes] => 1 [affected_rows] => 1 [summary_functions] => 1 [order_by_text] => 1 [transactions] => 1 [savepoints] => 1 [current_id] => emulated [limit_queries] => 1 [LOBs] => 1 [replace] => 1 [sub_selects] => 1 [triggers] => 1 [auto_increment] => 1 [primary_key] => 1 [result_introspection] => 1 [prepared_statements] => 1 [identifier_quoting] => 1 [pattern_escaping] => 1 [new_link] => 1 ) [options] => Array ( [ssl] => [field_case] => 0 [disable_query] => [result_class] => MDB2_Result_%s [buffered_result_class] => MDB2_BufferedResult_%s [result_wrap_class] => [result_buffering] => 1 [fetch_class] => stdClass [persistent] => [debug] => 0 [debug_handler] => MDB2_defaultDebugOutput [debug_expanded_output] => [default_text_field_length] => 4096 [lob_buffer_length] => 8192 [log_line_break] => [idxname_format] => %s_idx [seqname_format] => %s_seq [savepoint_format] => MDB2_SAVEPOINT_%s [statement_format] => MDB2_STATEMENT_%1$s_%2$s [seqcol_name] => sequence [quote_identifier] => [use_transactions] => 1 [decimal_places] => 2 [portability] => 127 [modules] => Array ( [ex] => Extended [dt] => Datatype [mg] => Manager [rv] => Reverse [na] => Native [fc] => Function ) [emulate_prepared] => [datatype_map] => Array ( ) [datatype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [nativetype_map_callback] => Array ( ) [lob_allow_url_include] => [bindname_format] => (?:\d+)|(?:[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*) [max_identifiers_length] => 64 [default_fk_action_onupdate] => RESTRICT [default_fk_action_ondelete] => RESTRICT [DBA_username] => [DBA_password] => [default_table_type] => ) [wildcards] => Array ( [0] => % [1] => _ ) [as_keyword] => AS [warnings] => Array ( ) [debug_output] => [in_transaction] => [nested_transaction_counter] => [has_transaction_error] => [offset] => 0 [limit] => 0 [phptype] => mysql [dbsyntax] => mysql [last_query] => SELECT * FROM article_image INNER JOIN image ON article_image.imgid = image.id WHERE article_image.incid = '68381' ORDER BY article_image.sortorder [fetchmode] => 1 [modules] => Array ( ) [destructor_registered] => 1 [_debug] => [_default_error_mode] => [_default_error_options] => [_default_error_handler] => [_error_class] => PEAR_Error [_expected_errors] => Array ( ) ) [time_created] => 2015-01-16 10:43:43 [time_updated] => 2015-01-16 10:44:01 [id] => 48087 [sortorder] => [tbl] => image [fields] => [application_path] => /public_web_sites/www.inc.com/reflex/ [core_application_url] => http://www.inc.com/ [error] => Array ( [0] => Problem initializing. A method for "incid" does not exist. [1] => Problem initializing. A method for "imgid" does not exist. ) [sort] => ) ) ) Article Object ( [inc_foreignid] => [inc_title] => 7 Moments in Business That Inspired Us in 2014 [inc_headline_prefix] => [inc_headline] => The Most Inspiring Business Moments of 2014 [inc_homepage_headline] => 7 Moments in Business That Inspired Us in 2014 [inc_homepage_headline_ab_test] => [inc_lander_headline] => [inc_sharing_headline] => [inc_twitter_headline] => A review of the year's best and brightest, starting with this kid and his ingenious idea @jillkrasny [inc_column_name_override] => [inc_reference_name] => [inc_custom_byline] => [inc_typid] => 20 [inc_autid] => 3181 [inc_deck] => From Tim Cook's revealing essay to the 13-year-old who snagged VC funding from Intel, a review of the year's best and brightest. 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